Flavio Frohlich, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, will conduct a trial of a non-invasive brain stimulation method developed in his lab for the treatment of patients with major depressive disorder. This method uniquely provides adaptive, individualized stimulation. Called “feedback transcranial alternating current stimulation,” it manipulates brain activity through a weak electric current, not detectable by the patient, applied to the scalp in response to pathological brain-activity signals measured by a standard electroencephalogram (EEG).
Thomas Kash, Ph.D., University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, will explore the effect of the brain chemical dynorphin and its receptor, kappa opioid receptor (KOR), on the neurotransmitter glutamate and anxiety-like behavior. The aim is to demonstrate a causal role for dynorphin and KORs in a key anxiety circuit so as to identify potential targets within the system for novel treatments of anxiety and stress disorders.
Garret D. Stuber, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will examine circuit connectivity within the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), a component of the amygdala, the brain’s center for fear-related illnesses such as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. The study will determine the precise neural circuits within the BNST that selectively process threat-related stimuli.